Blessing to the Nations - Spirit

The promise of the Father, the gift of the Spirit was sent by Jesus to bless all the nationsActs 3:25

Raging River - Photo by Jonatan Lewczuk on Unsplash
After the Day of Pentecost, Peter and John prayed for a man who was “
lame from his mother’s womb” and begging for alms near the Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Immediately, he stood up and began to walk, and then was seen and heard “leaping and praising God” - [Photo by Jonatan Lewczuk on Unsplash].

This incident was observed by many Jews as they entered and exited the Temple, filling them with “wonder and amazement.” This provided Peter with an excellent opportunity to preach the gospel – (Acts 3:1-11).

He attributed the healing to the “God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,” and to faith in the name of Jesus, the “servant of Yahweh,” whom the Father raised from the dead - “The things that God foreshowed by all the prophets, that his Messiah should suffer, he thus fulfilled… therefore, men everywhere ought to “repent so their sins may be blotted out.”

Jesus was the “servant” of Yahweh, a reference to the messianic prophecy from Isaiah about the “servant.” He was also the greater “prophet like Moses.” Moreover, “all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after spoke of these days.” As in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the theme of fulfillment in Jesus was quite pronounced - (Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Isaiah 42:1).

The Jews to whom Peter spoke were the “sons of the prophets” and heirs of the covenant with Abraham, the one in whom “all the families of the earth would be blessed.” Thus, he linked the resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Spirit to the covenant with the Patriarch, especially, the promise to “bless” all the nations of the earth.
  • (Acts 3:24-26) – “Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. You are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Unto you first, God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
Previously, the gospel of Luke alluded to the same covenant promise. The opening chapters of Acts likewise refer to the “promise of the Father” and the summons for the disciples to proclaim the good news of the kingdom “to the uttermost parts of the earth”:
  • (Genesis 12:2-3) – “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great… and in you will all the clans of the earth be blessed.”
  • (Genesis 12:2-3) – “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great… and in you will all the clans of the earth be blessed.”
  • (Luke 24:44-49) – “All things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms concerning me… Thus, it is written, that the Messiah should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
  • (Acts 1:4-8) – “He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father… For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you: and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.”
  • (Acts 2:39) – “Being, therefore, exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this, which you see and hear… Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call to him.”
Thus, both in his gospel and Acts Luke identifies the “promise of the Father” with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, he links it to the original covenant with Abraham - The promise to “bless all the nations of the earth.”

The arrival of the Spirit demonstrated that the era of fulfillment had arrived in the Death, Resurrection, and Exaltation of Jesus.

Likewise, Paul equated the “promise of the Spirit” with the “blessing of Abraham.” The original covenant always envisioned the inclusion of the Gentiles. Jesus is the “true seed of Abraham.” All men and women who belong to him are the “children of Abraham” and “heirs according to promise.”
  • (Galatians 3:13-14) – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written: Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree: that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
  • (Ephesians 1:13-14) – “In whom, you also, hearing the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also believing, were sealed with the Spirit of the promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance.
The covenant promise finds its fulfillment in Jesus and the gift of the Spirit that he now bestows on Gentile and Jewish believers. The inclusion of the Gentiles was not an afterthought or ad hoc measure but integral to the original covenant. The gift of the Spirit is the “promise of the Father” by which He implements the “blessing of Abraham” to the nations.

With the Resurrection and Exaltation of Jesus, the long-awaited gift of the Spirit has arrived with all its promised blessings. Acts documents the first decades of this process as the disciples took the gospel throughout the Roman world, under the direction and power of the Spirit. And the declaration of the good news commenced in Jerusalem, but only after the disciples were “endued with power from on high.”



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